Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy New Year 2014

Wow, I can't believe it's 2014 already!  And I can't believe I have neglected this blog for four years!  I was surprised to find it's still on the net and active.  I will have to pick up again and try to do better.

Much has happened since I was here last.  A lot has changed and just as much is exactly the same.  That's the beauty and the mystery of Fez, so they say.  So,where should I begin?

Fez has grown considerably.  It's no longer the sleepy, abandoned wanna-be city of  ten years ago.  The population has tripled along with the number of cars jamming the same old narrow streets.  The suburbs are growing suburbs as an unrelenting effort to construct more apartment buildings and subsequently necessary caf├ęs continues.  There is a new shopping mall sitting right on the roadside behind the iconic McDonalds at Place LaFiat in the ville nouvelle.  Literally hordes of women, children and teens are drawn to the mall every evening as the sun drops and people come out for their evening walk.

The old medina is changing too, despite what guide books would like us to believe.  As families move out, tourism businesses take their place.   Both main streets are pretty much given over to tourism.  Shops open daily with more cheap souvenir items and whatever looks successful today inspires five more identical shops tomorrow.  Whole streets have become commercial hotel-riads, all the previous occupants having moved to another place in to the medina or more likely to the surrounding areas outside.  My neighbors are still not convinced that I am a teacher and not a hotel proprietor even though they see me leave for school every morning.  However they have given up asking for jobs that I don't have since I am not running a business, even if they don't believe me.

In another post I will write about what it's like having a big dog in Fez medina.   And my neighbor who shoots pigeons on his terrace at sundown when I am watering my garden - with a real gun!  My daughter left in April to join the circus after giving up on the bakery idea.  I have a lot to catch up but this enough for the moment.